CAMPAIGNS: Greenwich looks for means to win

PR Team: The Greenwich Millennium Trust, Corporation of London and London First Campaign: Raising Millennium bid cash Timescale: July 1995- January 1996. Cost: pounds 12,500 and the in-house resources of Corporation of London and London First

PR Team: The Greenwich Millennium Trust, Corporation of London and

London First

Campaign: Raising Millennium bid cash

Timescale: July 1995- January 1996.

Cost: pounds 12,500 and the in-house resources of Corporation of London

and London First



In July 1995, the Millennium Commission announced a short list of four

locations for the proposed year 2000 celebrations - the Birmingham NEC,

Pride Park in Derby, Greenwich Peninsula and a site at Bromley-by-Bow in

East London.



Derby spent an estimated pounds 150,000 on PR bringing in Good Relations

and Birmingham hired Consolidated Communications, while Bromley-by-Bow

used Sharon Kean Associates. The Greenwich Millennium Trust relied on

in-house team headed up by Sir Bob Scott, who led Manchester’s bid to

host the Olympic games, and a joint campaign by the Corporation of

London and London First.



Despite later claims that the decision was a foregone conclusion,

Greenwich was at a disadvantage. Its rating as a location received a

considerable boost by the announcement of the Jubilee line extension,

but land proposed as a site, was owned by British Gas, not the council,

and unlike some of the other contenders, the council did not have any

equity. So, Greenwich needed to raise private sector finance to match

potential pounds 200 million Millennium funds.



Objectives



To maximise the chances of Greenwich’s bid to host the Millennium

Exhibition by raising pledges of cash to meet, or outdo rival bids.



Tactics



Aware of the potential for Bromley-by-Bow’s bid to split the sympathies

of the London business community, the Greenwich team immediately

established links with sympathisers at the Evening Standard and local TV

news programmes such as London Tonight and Newsroom South-East



Transportation was seen as one of Greenwich’s major weaknesses, so the

Trust commissioned a survey showing that it would be possible to move

more than 100,000 visitors a day into Greenwich, using public, and in

particular, river transport. The findings were presented to the press at

a launch on the Thames in October 1995.



On 25 January 1996, Scott, Michael Cassidy, policy chairman of the

London Corporation and Stephen O’Brien, chief executive of London First,

joined the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House for a private meeting hosted

by the City. The discussion’s central points were relayed on TV,

including a BBC live-linkup.



A ‘bid office’ and Business Pledge Hotline was set up at the Guildhall,

where Scott and O’Brien worked along side a press team headed up by

Corporation of London’s head of press Patrick Barrow.



London Tonight ran a four- minute news item including a live link from

the Guildhall, and continued to support the Greenwich bid with reports

throughout the pledge period. BAA chief executive Sir John Egan’s

decision to publicly pledge pounds 10 million gave added impetus to

press relations.



When the NEC produced a poll saying that 60 per cent of Times Top 1,000

companies supported Birmingham, Scott appeared on London News Radio

pointing out that, as only 44 companies had responded to the survey,

this actually represented only 2.6 per cent.



Results



By the cut-off date in January, pounds 100 million, including six

pledges of pounds 10 million from the business community, had been

confirmed. An unofficial announcement that London had won, appeared in

the Financial Times on 23 February, confirmed by the Millennium

Commission on 28 February, against a backdrop of bitter recriminations

from MPs and interested parties in the Midlands.



Verdict



On a minuscule budget, the bid team showed itself able to unite both

corporate budgets and public opinion, while Birmingham’s declared spend

of pounds 500,000 including advertising and opinion polls came to

nothing.



However the sweet taste of success must have been soured by allegations

of dirty tricks campaigns - the public squabbling surrounding the bid

providing a rather inappropriate launch pad for the forthcoming

celebrations.



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